Kyle & Kylee's Story

“You have a softball sized tumor in your abdomen.” This was the last thing on earth we thought we would hear while we were sitting in a dim ER room on a July night. The morning prior, my husband Kyle had been working hard on a fitness test - he had just landed his dream job as a Trooper for Washington State Patrol. Just a few weeks prior, during his medical clearance for this position, the doctors had commented on his higher than usual blood pressure for a 22 year old male but otherwise he was healthy and good to go. With nothing else out of the ordinary, we thought doing strenuous exercise on a warm July morning may have put him into heatstroke - he had vomiting, extreme sweats, racing heart. In the matter of a day, how do you go from thinking your loved one has heat stroke to learning he has stage 4 cancer?

Within a month or so, a biopsy, genetic testing and many scans later we were given the name of the disease - malignant pheochromocytoma paraganglioma. We learned Kyle had this disease from a genetic mutation - SDHB. The main tumor sat on his adrenal gland, and had spread to his lungs where there were multiple lesions varying in size. Kyle was diagnosed in 2015, at this time almost every single doctor expressed how rare this cancer/disease is and there were not many known treatments. They offered a prognosis, in which Kyle immediately declined. Although he knew it was rare, he would fight it. Even though he wouldn’t have as many years of life as he should, he would make sure he had as many as he could. Kyle was the strongest person I have ever met, I was so lucky to have fallen in love with my biggest inspiration.